Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes

And so do those who draw! Yesterday it was like the great escape at the Abbey Club, as somehow we managed a 2-2 draw with Nuneaton A as the second half of the Coventry League season got underway. We should have been dead and buried and served up on toast (not an appetising mix of metaphors!) but, at the 11th hour, Lady Luck decided to smile on us big time.

The evening had started more sedately as Mike drew on Bd 2 against Paul Davies. Mike pressed and forced a couple of concessions in Black's position, but Paul defended and honours were even. The rest of the games, though, were real fights and went right to the wire (we were playing the awful non-increment time limit of G/90) until they all finished virtually simultaneously.

On possibly his farewell appearance for the Coventry League team before moving to London, Drago failed to replicate his excellent C team Leamington League win of the previous day, and eventually went down to Colin Green in Board 4. I had thought he had the best position of all of us at several points in the evening, but my judgment was well off in my own game, so maybe that was wrong. Anyway, its been great having you on board this season Drago, and you have been a really valuable and reliable member of the club. Shame it was such a short association, but best of luck with your new job and new life down south.

So we needed 1.5 points from the other two games - but logic said we were going to get none. Ben was a pawn and position down against Tony Green on Board 3 when suddenly I became aware of a cry of anguish from somewhere off to my left and it transpired that Tony had got a rook trapped and had, impossibly, managed to lose.

But that was nothing compared to what had just happened in my game against Phil Briggs. From a very exciting opening and middlegame, and after turning down 2 draw offers, things suddenly went horribly wrong for me. The White queen somehow switched from a terrible square on h3 to a humungously strong square on a7, from where it targeted my suddenly exposed king. In time trouble I made a horrendous blunder by "cleverly" threatening a rook sacrifice of my own to deliver mate. But in chess, each side moves in turn, and I had left forced mate on the board. But then incredibly, and despite having seen the mate, Phil played the wrong check and I was still in the game. A few random moves seemed to have brought me back to possible equality until I put a piece en prise due to a pin. But thankfully Phil missed the tactic and swapped the queens off instead! With both of us under 2 minutes he then offered a third draw, and I decided that I had best take it before I made another blunder. Mike then pointed out a very strong move for me in the final position, but fortunately Mr Fritz has confirmed it wasn't winning. But who cares? My brain had gone and I was happy with the luckiest draw I have had in a long time …. well, since last Monday when I escaped from a totally lost position against Ben!

Now we just need to hope we didn't use up our season's quota of luck in one match!

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